Last Friday unsuspecting shoppers were treated to a display of touch rugby theatrics as the Rugby Football Union brought the ‘O2 Touch Tour’ to Nottingham. The tour, the RFU’s biggest ever campaign to get the nation playing touch rugby, spent the day at Old Market Square showcasing the game on a specially-laid pitch.
Hosted by Sky Sports Sarah-Jane Mee and attended by England Women’s captain Sarah Hunter, the main attraction of the day was the performance of The Untouchables, the RFU’s very own super-group of athletes including leading free runners, a choreographer to world stars such as Rihanna and Dizzee Rascal and a former Leicester Tiger. The group combined their array of acrobatic talents with a focus on rugby skills to the delight of an appreciative crowd that had gathered in front of the Council House.
RFU Rugby Development Officer Phil Duffy said ‘touch’ was a fun and easy form of exercise without the physicality of the full-contact version of the game. “Men, women, kids, older people, people of all shapes and sizes can all play in the same team – they can enjoy the camaraderie and fun of a team sport but they won’t get bruised and battered and have to walk around the office on a Monday morning with a black eye.”
They can enjoy the camaraderie and fun of a team sport but they won’t get bruised and battered and have to walk around the office on a Monday morning with a black eye
He also emphasised the manner in which touch rugby can be a time-efficient way of getting involved in the game – “it’s a game where people don’t have to commit to training three times a week and then a game at the weekend. They can dip in and out as the please but still feel part of a rugby club, make new friends and have a run around.
Captain of the England Women’s team Sarah Hunter told Impact that she “hadn’t stopped smiling all morning. It’s great to interact with people they might not have played rugby and try and enthuse them for the game that you love yourself.” She also took some time to stress her disappointment with the Women’s Six Nations campaign so far but said they were looking to “put in performances we can be proud of and get two wins against Italy and Wales.”
Looking to the future, Hunter said the team had “learnt a lot about ourselves and it will hopefully be a good learning curve for us with the Sevens World Cup next year and the full World Cup in 2015.”